ARTICLES 
A SALUTE TO BRITAIN: UK interest in the Bulgarian property market
Article by Lucy Cooper, The Sofia Echo Weekly, 17-23 June 2005

Interview with Bulgarian Properties CEO MIHAIL CHOBANOV

Q: What is the typical profile of a UK client interested in buying property in Bulgaria?
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES: There are three main types of client: those looking to purchase a second or permanent home; those looking for a holiday home with the possibility of renting it out, and those purchasing purely for business purposes, either to gain income from letting or as a speculative purchase, either for immediate resale, or resale at a later date. Many people who buy to rent, own up to five properties and many who buy to resell have more than 10 some have more than 40!

Q: What types of properties are UK clients most interested in- houses (old/new), commercial premises, hotels, apartments or land?
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES: Bulgarian Properties deals mainly with private clients who are looking to buy properties in rural Bulgaria for between 5000 and 20 000 euro, or an apartment for 20 000 to 45 000 euro near a resort. Beach resorts are the most popular, followed by mountain resorts.
Q: Bulgarian property is a hot topic for many foreigners at the moment, but especially with those from the UK. Why do you think that the UK market in specific has shown such a big interest in Bulgarian property? What do you think sparked this phenomenon?
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES: There are two main reasons for this; first we have the climate, nature and the cost of living that is desirable for our clients. And second, The British are a nation that like invading, in this particular case purely invading, or to invest money into an attractive market with great potential.

Q: What are the current trends in the Bulgarian property market? Has there been an increase or decrease in sales to UK clients over the past year?
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES: Interest is constantly increasing, now not at that rapid a pace, the peak is still to come.
Q: Which areas of Bulgaria are most potential UK buyers interested in? Has this changed over the past few years?
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES: I would say there are two main fields of interest: the first is the typical escape from stress rural location; the second, in and around the resorts in their outskirts, or very close.

Q: Property in Bulgaria is very much in the limelight in the UK media at the moment. Not all the coverage is good, with tales of complicated legal battles and long-lost relatives staking claims on properties hindering the buying process. How realistic are these portrayals of purchasing property here? What are some of your strategies for dealing with potential pitfalls?
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES: The main problem comes from this: that at the moment it is profitable to have an estate agency. If you have a good budget and good marketing strategy it can become a profitable business that is how the unprofessional companies came into the business. The developers became agents, the agents became developers, and every single person in Bulgaria who has any kind of contact with foreigners is trying to sell them something. Three years ago there were only a few agents selling (mainly) to the British. One year ago there were only a few property offices in Sunny Beach. This summer the shops are turning into Property Shops, next year there might be only estate agents in the resorts!
Q: What do you envisage as the future of UK investment in the Bulgarian property market?
BULGARIAN PROPERTIES: There are still many undiscovered and hidden beauties in Bulgaria; there are still virgin sandy beaches and ski slopes. We still have our four well-separated seasons, we still have the Bulgarian hospitality. I am sure that there is lot more great potential in some places to make a great profit from your investment.

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